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Shailene Woodley Biography


Home > Actresses > W > Woodley, Shailene > Biography


Birth Name: Shailene Woodley
Born: 11/15/1991
Birth Place: Simi Valley, California, USA


Born on Nov. 15, 1991 in Simi Valley, CA, Woodley was raised by her father, Loni, and her mother, Lori, both of whom drew her into the spotlight at a young age. She began commercial modeling when she was four and made her acting debut in the television movie "Replacing Dad" (CBS, 1999), opposite Mary McDonnell and Jack Coleman. Following her series debut with a guest starring role on "Crossing Jordan" (NBC, 2001-07), Woodley had a two-episode arc in 2002 for the Washington D.C.-based police drama, "The District" (CBS, 2000-04), starring small screen veteran, Craig T. Nelson. Just when her career was taking off, the 15-year-old actress discovered she was suffering from scoliosis - a curvature of the spine - and was forced to wear a brace for nearly 18 months. But Woodley remained determined as ever to continue her career despite her medical condition.

Promptly returning to performing onscreen, Woodley continued to book roles on television, which quickly became the perfect vehicle for the actress to spread her wings. Starting in 2003, Woodley spent six episodes playing Mischa Barton's pony-riding little sister, Kaitlin Cooper, on "The O.C." But when Kaitlin was added to the show as a main character the following season, another actress (Willa Holland) was brought on to play her. Subsequently, Woodley returned to "Crossing Jordan," playing a young Jordan Cavanaugh who eventually grows up to become a brilliant, but irascible Boston medical examiner prone to stretching the law to get the job done. She followed with episodes of "Without a Trace" (CBS, 2002-09), "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS, 1996-2005) and the short-lived "Jack & Bobby" (The WB, 2004-05), while landing a prominent supporting part in the made-for-television movie, "A Place Called Home" (Hallmark Channel, 2004).

In 2005, Woodley became the envy of young girls everywhere when she was cast in the lead as the doll-come-to-life for "Felicity: An American Girl Adventure." Set during the Revolutionary War and based on the book character written by Valerie Tripp, Woodley played a young girl faced with family crisis while her country tears itself away from British rule. That same year, she co-starred alongside two of television's funniest women in history, Carol Burnett and Tracey Ullman, in the television version of the Broadway musical, "Once Upon a Mattress" (ABC, 2005). Woodley remained a steady fixture in television for the next couple of years, appearing in a variety of episodic genres, from the comedy series "My Name Is Earl" (NBC, 2005-09) to crime dramas like "CSI: NY" (CBS, 2004-2013) and "Cold Case" (CBS, 2003-2010).

While her acting résumé consisted of roles that often required her to be a young girl, Woodley had grown up onscreen and was more than ready to take on more challenging adult roles. She began making that segue with "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," playing Amy Juergens, a nice, smart, sensible teenager who unexpectedly finds herself pregnant at the delicate age of 15. The ripple effect that the unplanned pregnancy had on her life, family, friends and school formed the basis of the series. Though dismissed early on by the majority of critics, Woodley's performance held enough appeal for young female viewers to make the show the cable network's highest-rated debut ever at the time. After four seasons of appearing solely on "American Teenager" Woodley truly came into her own as a serious actress with her supporting role in writer-director Alexander Payne's comedy-drama "The Descendants" (2011). For her portrayal of Alex, the angry 17-year-old daughter of an emotionally distant father (George Clooney), Woodley earned an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female.

In June of 2013, "Secret Life" ended its long run, with Woodley inevitably moving on to a number of notable projects, including a small role as Mary Jane Watson in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (2014). Although she shot her scenes for the superhero sequel, the filmmakers ended up cutting her completely to streamline the story, with the door remaining open for her participation in future installments. Woodley's next screen appearance proved to be in the lauded coming-of-age indie "The Spectacular Now" (2013), co-starring Miles Teller. The following year, Woodley appeared in two high-profile adaptations of best-selling young adult novels, the futuristic adventure "Divergent" (2014) and the cancer-themed teen romance drama "The Fault in Our Stars" (2014). Woodley became a television and magazine fixture while on the promotional rounds for these films, establishing a persona as a wide-eyed naturalist with a strong belief in herbal medicine and other aspects of healthy living.